UAE bans poultry imports from Saudi Arabia amid bird flu outbreak

Gulf Early Warnin­g Centre report­ed an outbre­ak of a ‘highly contag­ious’ strain of bird flu, H5N8, in Riyadh­

PHOTO: File

PHOTO: File

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced on Sunday a ban on poultry imports from Saudi Arabia following a reported bird flu outbreak in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment took the measure following a notification from the Gulf Early Warning Centre of an outbreak of a “highly contagious” strain of bird flu, H5N8, in the Azizia market in Riyadh, the UAE state news agency WAM reported.

The precautionary measures include a ban on the import of all kinds of domestic and wild live birds, ornamental birds, chicks, hatching eggs and non-heat-treated wastes from Saudi Arabia.

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A ban on the import of poultry meat, non-heat-treated products and table eggs from the affected area in Riyadh was also implemented.

The UAE ministry said untreated products shipped prior to December 1, 2017 were still permitted following a verification of the accompanying certificates. The heat-treated poultry products – meat and eggs – are also cleared for import from Saudi Arabia.

In doing so, the ministry hopes to prevent the bird flu virus’ impact on the country’s poultry health and safety, in addition to protecting public health and well-being, it added.

Bird flu strains have hit poultry flocks in several countries across the world in recent years, with some types of the disease causing human infection and deaths.

Saudi Arabia in earlier this year imposed restrictions on poultry imports from some infected countries such as Bulgaria, in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading.